4.29.2008

Blogger's Statute of Non-Limitations

So, I've been thinking of starting another, more personal, blog alongside this one. My other blog would be more about me (and limited in access) and less about my opinions and lack of regard for human stupidity.

My problem is coming up with a name/link I'm happy with and that Blogger will let me use. Obviously I got tired of this blog's old name, Hen's Teeth Pulled, so finding something that sticks is always a challenge for me.

Here's the stupid deal: I've tried several names, including paradox.blogspot.com (someone who thankfully must have realized s/he can't write at all), oxymoron.blogspot.com, blahg.blogspot.com, and - my preferred - noromyxo.blogspot.com.

The problem? Someone in the history of the internet has already taken these titles on Blogger. They then either never used them or posted twice or so and never again (at least not in the last three years or so). I would think after three years of inactivity - actually, after one year of inactivity - a blog name should be made available again, even more so if the contact information for the blog owner is no longer valid. It really can't be that difficult to create an archive of "failed" blogs (say, "paradox.archive.blogspot.com" or "oxymoron.blogspotarchive.com" or somesuch) if necessary or just delete them.

As a user, I could delete one of my blogs if I wanted to, but Google for some reason can't delete an obviously long-dormant blog? I guess not! There are actually several of these forum posts requesting old blog names, and the only suggestion Blogger has is to "get creative with hyphens." Oh please, can i? I'll do ox-y-mo-ron.blogspot.com... how's that?

Like I said in the above-linked forum, we can easily rename or delete our own blogs, but somehow Blogger can't recycle dead blog URLs for others to use? Hello? I know it can't be the technology.... Did Blogger forget to write deletion into the license agreement and now won't delete blogs for fear that these people, who haven't posted for an internet lifetime (even eight years, from what I've seen), will suddenly come back with a class-action lawsuit and shut Blogger and Google down? (I guess I wouldn't be too surprised.)

Silly? Yes. Minor? Sure. But it's still a simple solution that Google will not or cannot (legally?) pursue.

So, any suggestions for a name? I suppose I could actually use iWeb on my Mac and publish to the URL I bought and haven't used yet, digitalmsg.net/noromyxo... which, of course, I have to renew each year, or else someone else can get it... unlike blogspot URLs.

3.27.2008

Um... what?

This is an actual quote from an real email I received from PayPal, a financial institution owned and operated by eBay, the international online auction place of choice:

Your application has been approved! Have activate the PayPal Debit Card as soon as it arrives.

can use it to withdraw cash at ATMs worldwide or to shop anywhere [Mastercard (they used the logo image)] is accepted.You can turn off your child’s card from your account at any time.


Have activate? When did "activate" become a product? Wait, doesn't Wal-Mart sell that?

can use it? Who can use it? Why would they want to?

When did I say the card was for a child? What are you saying about my wife?

Wait, this is from PayPal? I know it is, but I had to forward it to their fake-email investigators at spoof@paypal.com. This was just too sad to leave alone.

2.29.2008

Let's put money ahead of people and loyalty!

For those of you who don't follow sports, don't care, or just don't know what's going on, the Seattle Supersonics of the NBA (professional basketball) were bought by new ownership who are looking to move the team to Oklahoma City. Oklahoma City!! What?

I'm not a big NBA fan - I prefer college sports to the pros - but I hate stupidity and injustice of all types And it seems that Seattle, which has supported professional basketball for 41 years, is getting truly screwed by the new ownership that confessed -after begging for a new arena to replace the 13-year-old one they have - that they bought the team that won the city's only professional sports championship with no intention of staying in Seattle.

This link is a long piece full of reaction from Sonics fans and others. It is a very long article, but (mostly) well worth reading, especially for people who can remember the history of the Indianapolis Colts and the Baltimore Ravens, let alone the LA Lakers, Utah Jazz and St. Louis Rams, or even the Hartford Whalers and Minnesota North Stars of the NHL.

I mean, how many lakes does Los Angeles really have? (The team was previously in Minneapolis.) And Utah, the state of Mormonism, is a hotbed for Jazz? (Um... no. The team was previously from New Orleans, go figure.) But recent memory is best served by Baltimore, which saw its beloved Colts steal away in the cover of night, then accepted - however (un)willingly - the arrival of the players and staff formerly known as the Cleveland Browns while Cleveland fans tore the vacated stadium apart and fought to keep the name and legacy of the team, which is the final part of what Seattle should do. First, of course, Seattle should fight tooth-and-nail to keep the team in Seattle in the first place and lose out to ├╝ber-rich ignorant dimwits who don't realize (or care) that the hands they are chewing on are the very ones feeding them.

Clay Bennett, the new majority owner of the Sonics, does have one somewhat vaguely noble reason for moving the team to OKC. It's his home and where he does business and he thinks the area deserves professional sports. That's all fine and good. His methods, lies, the buddy-buddy passive acceptance of good friend David Stern (the commissioner of the NBA) and the theft of an icon from its strongest supporters are what make this rotten.

Bennett reportedly demanded an overpriced $500 million arena to replace a 13-year-old arena that cost $200 million to remodel. Seattle had also just built two stadiums for the football Seahawks and the baseball Mariners. After Seattle told him "No," a colleague and co-owner admitted that they really intended to move to OKC no matter what.

Now David Stern - unlike the NFL's Paul Tagliabue in the Cleveland/Baltimore situation - is standing around shuffling his feet and accepting the "inevitable" while noting that the league won't expand to give Seattle a team in the future.

Of course, for me this whole topic just brings up two more peeves of mine. One is the fact that cities have been told they have to divert funds that could be used for public services and infrastructure improvements to build new monoliths for multi-millionaires and billionaires who like to threaten to move a team elsewhere.

........

Blah blah blah... I forget the other peeve.

I just noticed that Simmons posted another piece with more of his thoughts on the matter and many, many more reader reactions. I can't say anything else. Just read what Simmons wrote and even skim a few of the emails he reprinted. I agree wholeheartedly.

I'll also quote a couple here to save some of you the time:

City: Seattle
Name: Ladd


Like so many others, I grew up with the Sonics. So many wonderful and horrible memories that I was able to relive in your mailbag. The most important one for me was Game 5 of the '96 Finals. I was in eighth grade and watching the game from home with all my friends as my little sister went to the game. She was a HUGE basketball fan. She went to the game with a big "Sonics Pride" sign that she made herself that season. Lissy (my sister) was on TV a couple of times with her huge sign. She passed away in 1998 from Cystic Fibrosis. Your mailbag reminded me of that game and the fact that YouTube had clips. Long story short, in this YouTube clip at the 5:47 mark I got to see my sister again if only for a few seconds. Thank you again.

City: Elverson, Pa.
Name: Bob Sullivan


I see an exact parallel here between Clay Bennett and Bob Irsay, the former Baltimore Colts owner. I know I'm going back before your time, but I grew up in Baltimore. Irsay ripped my heart out that day in February 1983, when the Colts left town. I see so many parallels here it's creepy. It's like Bennett wrote a management paper on how Irsay alienated an entire city that passionately loved a sports team. To their dying days, many old Baltimore Colt players still refuse to associate themselves with the Indianapolis franchise. And, yes, older Colts fans still feel somewhat slimy about taking the Browns from Cleveland. Jim Irsay seems to be a good guy, and 25 years is a long time to hate. So I've finally gotten over it.

Still, the many parallels are creepy. Go look up the history of the Colts moving to Indianapolis and see what I mean. And Seattle fans, don't EVER let Bennett take the team name. (What in the hell do Colts have to do with Indianapolis or Jazz with Utah?) Even if your team moves, MAKE HIM RENAME THE FRANCHISE. Do what Cleveland did.

City: Minneapolis
Name: Chas


I've been reading your postings of the righteous anger flowing out of Sonics fans with great empathy. And I know this is perverse, but I hope they maintain it.

You might recall a similar situation occured here in Minnesota a few decades back. An out-of-towner came in to "save" the franchise for the state of Minnesota. We were skeptical, but hopeful. We chanted the new owner's name. Then the stadium demands started. Then it went from North Stars to just Stars (which would play better in the home state of our savior, Texas) and we knew the end was near. That final year, we committed to supporting the players and continued to show up at games. We parked a mile away and snuck in our own food and drinks so as not benefit the owner whose name we now cursed (Secord sucks; Norm Green sucks harder). We rooted on the players during an enjoyable final season. And then they moved ... from a market with one of the highest sell-out rates in the NHL. A top 20 market with some of the highest TV ratings in the NHL. The state of hockey ... without a pro hockey team after 26 years. And we swore we would never return.

Fast forward some years later, and here we are again: We have an NHL team playing in a brand new publicly funded stadium (even the a perfectly adequate one existed 10 miles away). We have big ratings and sell-out crowds. It's like nothing ever happened. Shame on us.

You know why David Stern isn't worried about the long-term effects of leaving Seattle? Because he's right to. History shows that if a new "white knight" owner brings a team to Seattle in a few years, the state will gladly open its pockets and the fans will clamor to be the first to pay PSL fees in the new stadium. So stay mad, Seattle. For Baltimore, for Cleveland, for New Orleans, for Minnesota and every other fan base that has had a team ripped from them. I wish you well, but the odds aren't in your favor.

City: Seattle
Name: Kevin White


I struggle with the concept of billionaires who pay millionaires becoming angry when hard-working people such as myself are not willing to give tax money to pay for a new stadium. I'm trying to put two children through college and one in high school. Gas prices are the highest they have ever been, and mortgage rates continue to rise. We are paying for a remodel of the current KeyArena, and now they want more. When is enough enough?

They speak of our loyalty, but where is their loyalty to the fan who has attended their games, bought their products and rooted for them when they stunk? I was there when they won the championship in '79 and saw the city turn out. That interest is still there, but we are paying for poor mangement of the team that has not put a winner on the court for years. I was there when the Sonics returned to the Finals and watched as tickets were impossible to get. And they say "we don't care?" We care. Maybe too much, but we do care. But they are asking me to choose who I care the most about. They want me to care more about them and their needs (their billions) than for my family and their needs. What an unfair choice to ask of a faithful fan. The NBA has been losing fans and wondering why? Is it any wonder when they treat their fans with such disloyalty?

Okay... I"ll stop now. Read more (especially Simmons' intros) at the above links.

2.27.2008

An update about Obama not being Muslim

Yeah, like Snopes and I were saying, this February 26, 2008, BBC article reiterates, "A campaign volunteer was sacked last year after circulating an email suggesting, falsely, that Mr Obama was a Muslim."

1.28.2008

Those Dang Minnesota French!

As I promised, I wanted to post a few links about the rumor of a French-owned Target Corporation that will not support the US military.
As I said before, I greatly despise the spread of misinformation. I also strongly despise the way the US media and citizenry blindly latch on to any anti-patriotic propaganda they can get fired up about all while forwarding these stupid emails without verifying the information contained.

Just to make it absolutely clear:


The person who had forwarded this to me second-hand was upset about my correction and felt, "If you disagreed with me, all you needed to do was delete it from your mailbox."

I completely disagree! As I told her, "I just hope you actually had the decency to then spread the truth to refute the lies you so willingly spread."

I like how I explained my feelings to her (although she didn't like it at all): "What I really, really hate is the continuous, unverified spread of lies and misinformation by people who should know better. This is one of my BIGGEST pet peeves and pisses me off to no end. If I have to pay hell (or &&**, as she previously wrote) for correcting lies, so be it." She later declared she wouldn't correspond with someone who would dare use "THE 'P' WORD!"

I closed with what could be a future blog entry for me: "While I understand what's wrong with not supporting the men and women in the US armed forces, just what is wrong with France? Should we send the Statue of Liberty back? Why don't you worry more about how we spend so much money on Chinese-made products, taking jobs away from Americans and giving money to a violent, totalitarian regime that our own government - Democrat and Republican - caters to?

But maybe I shouldn't add that part - talk about flame bait! Good thing there's no comments on this blog.
Oh, and for full disclosure - I love shopping Target. Affordable design and quality for the most part. Better looking clothes, nicer electronics, a cleaner store, and more helpful employees. I actually had the privilege to work at a Target briefly, although my personal pace is too slow for that environment.

1.21.2008

Response to a local dealer's propaganda

(Most of this I originally wrote a couple of years ago in response to a local dealership'sads in a local newspaper (in Amish Country, Ohio) attempting to sound patriotic and to fight the flow of customers away from GM. I thought this blog would be a good place to preserve this rant. I also updated some lost links and added a little. Nicholson picked heavily on Ford, Honda, Saab, and especially Toyota. Now I just need to find copies of the car dealer's original pieces.)

Concerning Chuck Nicholson’s recent propaganda promoting General Motors, there are several things he doesn’t tell you:

1. How American is GM? Depends on your definition of "American." The highest US/Canada content for a “US-made” car from 2005 is 92% (according to usstuff.com, which promotes products made in North America). Where’s the other 8% from? Your choices include (but are not limited to) Japan, Korea, Europe, Australia, and Mexico. (The 2005 Chevy Corvette may have a transmission built in Mexico, for example.)
  • The Toyota Camry uses 75% US parts according to Toyota (and is built in Kentucky). 98% of the steel used is of US origin. (MGS: Now they say 100% of the steel is US.)
  • Some American vehicles are fully assembled in Mexico (whether 92% US parts or not). Hey, it’s part of North America as much as Canada is!
2. GM used to have a brand called Geo. These cars, the Prizm, Metro, Tracker, and Storm, were largely Toyota, Isuzu, or Suzuki models that GM invested in and relabeled. Yes, I wrote “Toyota.” That economical and reliable Geo Prizm was pretty much a rebadged Toyota Corolla. Toyota is such an evil company.

3. Saab, which Mr. Nicholson bad-mouthed in an earlier ad, is wholly owned by GM as of 2000. GM actually purchased ½ of Saab stock in 1990. Which Saabs had engine trouble when?
  • Funny, huh? It’s funnier yet because they bought the remainder of Saab right when they were killing off Oldsmobile. (Ransom Olds, US citizen, was one of the first to build the horseless carriage in the late 19th century.)
  • Also, GM’s Saab tried to sell a car, the 9-2x, which was actually mostly a rebadged Subaru Impreza. Wait, isn’t Subaru Japanese?
  • When it was phased out, Oldsmobile was the oldest surviving American automobile marquee, and one of the oldest in the world after Daimler and Peugeot.
4. In an age of multinational corporations owning interesting and nameplates in various nations throughout the world – in a world in which a quite sizable portion of global economy courses through China – why is Mr. Nicholson complaining about cars and companies with strong US presences?
  • Honda America has plants in East Liberty, Anna, and Marysville, Ohio, employing over 16,000 in Ohio alone.
  • Various US companies have been accused of running “sweatshops” in various Asian countries, where $13 a day is good pay. And we wonder where the jobs have gone?
5. Has Mr. Nicholson mentioned that the Chevy Aveo is actually made by Daewoo, a Korean company that GM holds interest in? And it gets some of GM’s better reviews!

6. I find it ironic that Mr. Nicholson’s articles “lambasting” Honda were negative pieces about design. There was one about one mechanical issue.GM certainly has room to talk about design.

7. Mr. Nicholson also spent a good amount of space knocking at Ford, yet he sells Mazda at his Dover showroom. Ford has long had a controlling interest in Mazda. Oh, and isn’t Mazda a Japanese company?

8. Finally, if Mr. Nicholson has such a problem with the blather of the other automotive manufacturers, why can you enter his used … I mean "pre-owned" car lot and purchase Hondas, Toyotas, and Fords?

Go ahead and read Chuckie’s cheese, but get the facts, too. If you don’t, you might as well just believe that Target is owned by the French!

1.14.2008

FW: Email forwards drive me nuts

People love to forward emails, don't they? It's not that I really mind - it's just a few kb of space and sometimes I actually do check them out and delete them.  What burns me the most are these political emails full of lies and misinformation which people don't double-check.

I actually got into a brief email argument with an acquaintance who had forwarded that stupid email about Target not supporting our troops and being owned by the French. I will post my reply to that in my next post.

My current rant is about the whole "Barack Obama is a closet radical Muslim" email that my wife has received twice. I guess people know better than to send it to me. The link I've given is Snopes.com's take on the email - they're a really good resource.

What's really funny is that, as Snopes notes in the link, the email actually claims that the information had been confirmed via Snopes.com. As Snopes says, "It's our guess that whoever included that bit was counting on folks to not check, as our article says the opposite...."

I could repeat what Snopes and other sites say about this half-and-half concoction of drunken lies and savory truth, but instead I'll just post the links and make you do the work.

Google search for "barack obama muslim"
Snopes about Obama and the national anthem
About.com concurring with Snopes' take, with a few more links (many of them also in the Google search).

I just need to say this: Don't spread something you didn't check into. Don't put your name on it unless you want to rise or fall by it. There's a reason why television, radio, and print media often state stuff like, "The opinions cited herein or those strictly of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of this company, its stockholders, the board of directors, the founders, or the web gnomes who actually coded it for you to read. Blah blah blah...."

And if you ever send me a forward or a link without verifying the truthfulness of its reporting, do not be surprised if you get a reply full of links and corrections. Also don't be surprised if I'm not very tactful or nice about it. I have a very intense dislike for the spread of unverified "facts".

Of course, don't be surprised if I don't do or write anything in response, either. I don't keep up too much with the forwards I'm sent - my Mail program has a folder with 270 unread messages (and counting). Although emails with hot potatoes like "muslim", "Obama", "French", "American", etc., tend to make me want to either read or immediately delete them, depending on my mood.

And, by the way, no, this is not a plug for Barack Obama. While I am strongly motivated politically, I'm not going to stump for one candidate or another here. There's enough crap - good and bad - out there about the candidates. Just make absolutely certain you check your sources... especially before you send something to me... or, you know... VOTE!